South Carolina Ports Authority had its best calendar year in its history, handling 2.44 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) in 2019, a 5% increase year-over-year.

South Carolina Ports reports best volumes yet in 2019

S.C. Ports handled 1.38 million pier containers — as measured by the total number of boxes handled — in 2019 at the Wando Welch and North Charleston terminals. Of those, more than 1.1 million containers went across the docks of the Wando terminal whilst major renovations were ongoing to enhance the terminal’s big-ship readiness capabilities.

Breakbulk cargo grew in 2019 with 725,828 pier tons handled, up nearly 10% from a year ago. The Port also handled 225,191 vehicles, up 4%, and 262,776 cruise passengers, up 24%, in 2019.

Inland Port Greer and Inland Port Dillon also saw record breaking activity in 2019 with 190,539 combined rail moves, up 41% year-over-year.

S.C. Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome said volumes were strong across business segments in 2019, despite ongoing global trade issues.

“We enter 2020 with a great decade of growth behind us, during which we doubled our volumes, tripled our asset base and added more than 200 people to our team,” Newsome said. “Our cargo growth and efficient terminals are only made possible through the dedication of our team and the broader maritime community.”

December volumes

S.C. Ports handled 187,882 TEUs at the Wando Welch and North Charleston container terminals in December. This brings the total TEUs handled thus far in fiscal year 2020, from July through December, to 1.23 million, up nearly 4% year-over-year.

The Port moved 105,783 pier containers in December for a total of 694,656 pier containers thus far in fiscal year 2020.

Breakbulk and vehicle cargo have seen strong year-over-year growth. The Port handled 45,816 pier tons in December for a total of 356,179 pier tons in fiscal year 2020, up 39% from the same period a year ago. The Port moved 16,436 vehicles across Columbus Street Terminal in December for a total of 115,607 vehicles in fiscal year 2020, up nearly 36%.

Inland Port Greer reported 10,735 rail moves in December for a total of nearly 75,000 rail moves in fiscal year 2020, up 23% year-over-year. Inland Port Dillon, now in its second year of operation, reported 3,027 rail moves in December for a total of nearly 17,000 rail moves for the fiscal year, up 32%.

“Our ongoing growth supports our long-planned, vital infrastructure projects, which are close to becoming a reality. In 2021, S.C. Ports will open the first phase of the Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal and achieve a 52-foot depth in Charleston Harbor,” Newsome said. “Our enhanced capacity and big-ship capabilities make the Port of Charleston ideal for cargo owners wanting access to both Southeast consumers and global markets.”

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